on messes, success, and how we spend our days

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

He walks in to a mess.

I'm working on laundry.  I've already folded and put away four loads, and now the final basket waits for me on the couch, beside a heap of clothes needing hangers.  The kids opened a box from their grandma this afternoon; paper and new outfits for each of them litter the opposing couch.  Breakfast dishes sit heaped to one side of the kitchen counter, Legos and empty plastic eggs are strewn on the floor.  All of us have been busy with other projects today, and it shows.

5 things I learned from my husband's brain injury: my messy beautiful story

Friday, April 18, 2014

Healing takes a long, long time.  That's the first thing I learned from my husband's brain injury.

The second is this:  I can do hard things.  I can take four children under seven years old to a liturgical service, where there is little childcare.  I can deal with insurance companies myself, I can parent and be married in new ways.  I can do hard things.  But I can't do them alone, and I will rarely look cute while they happen.

Last May my husband wrecked his bike on the most unassuming dirt path in Boulder, Colorado, while our six-year-old son rode behind him. He split his helmet and was knocked unconscious. My son gave a stranger my number, who called the paramedics, then called me. By the time I made the hour's drive to the hospital, my husband was awake. He had some internal injuries, but he was alert - giving his social security number and asking about our son when I arrived. He's okay, see? We dodged a bullet.  He's okay, I told myself over and over.

We didn't dodge that bullet - we took it square in the gut. But not all wounds are fatal.

It feels like going home.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Don't try to replace our old dog, he said.  Just sit with the sadness, he said.  Remember?

But then spring came.  Everywhere we went people were walking their pets, and he remembered how much fun our old pup was, back when he was healthy.  He softened, and began watching rescue sites and animal shelters' "I'm adoptable!" pages. Until, on Friday, he said, "I think I found the right dog for us."

He was right.  The dog was a perfect fit for our family.  But when we went back to introduce the kids and fill out paperwork, something unexpected happened.

Our little boys grieved.

They'd said good-bye to our old dog before he died, they'd sat and cried with us after he was gone.  Still, the idea of a new pet brought a fresh wave of sadness I did not see coming.  One son insisted we name the new dog after our old one.  The other grew edgy and uncertain, springing quick tears all weekend.  Were they not ready?  Or was their sadness inevitable?

When I asked God for the future I want

Monday, April 7, 2014

Right now, my two "big" boys are 7 and 5 1/2.  They are followed by my little girl, who is 3, and my toddling boy, who is 17 months old.    During all the lunacy of bringing home a newborn with a toddler on my hip, or the crazy-making of raising two preschoolers at the same time, or even the insanity of moving four tiny kids across the country ... in all of the crazy seasons having four kids in five years has brought to my life, never has my home so closely resembled a zoo as it does right now.

Essentially, early elementary boys are puppies.  They wake up playing, eat while playing, fall asleep playing.  And they seem to be continually living out some sort of Despicable Me-style battle scene that includes death by bodily function.  They never stop talking - ever, ever, ever - and they prefer to talk at the same time.

death in a time of facebook

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Then I see a news article that stops my breath. "Victim in fatal crash identified as head pastor of …' Above the headline is the name of a dear family friend. He officiated my wedding, buried my husband’s grandmother. He was my husband’s first boss and remained his mentor. For almost 20 years they had met for lunch and talked on the phone a few times a year. Now he was dead, killed this morning on a highway in our hometown.
And I find this out on Facebook."
Today I am over at Converge Magazine, sharing how social media affects the way we think, talk, and even grieve.  You can read the rest here.
If you followed the link from Converge, welcome!  You may be interested in what Legos taught me about Lent, or how my faith grew when I gave up searching for God's will.  Don't forget to follow along on Facebook or Twitter for new posts!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Welcome from Venn Magazine!  You may be interested in why I gave up on God's will, and how my faith grew stronger as a result.  You may also relate to what Legos taught me about Lent.  We're so glad you stopped by!

Today is another installment of our series "Give Peace a Chance." We are asking how we can be peacemakers within the church.  In light of the recent World Vision controversy, never has there been a more important time to consider how we make peace with one another, and work together on the things that most touched the heart of Christ. Scroll down to read today's installment, written by guest blogger Mikkee Hall.  "I sat there in judgment, and I recognized in myself a source of the lack of peace in the church. I was doing what is most damaging ..." Read the rest below.

Give Peace a Chance: Division and Peace both begin with me.

Creative Commons - by Photo Everywhere
This is our third installment of the series, Give Peace a Chance. We're asking, how can we be peacemakers in a noisy, sometimes chaotic room. The World Vision controversy weighs heavy on me today. Never has there been a more important time to ask how we can be instruments of peace within the modern church.

Today's post is by Mikkee Hall. Mikkee is my best friend, and I refer to her here often, though I never use anyone's names. I asked her to share her thoughts because Mikkee is the most peace-loving person I have ever met. Yet below she shares how she finds in herself both a source of division, and a source of peace. As I read her words, over and over I thought - me too. I can't wait to hear your thoughts as well.  
I grew up in a fundamentalist church. As a child, I found church to be a place of internal division – one very fundamental denomination pitted against all the rest – and my church was convinced we were “the only ones who had it right.” Though I have long abandoned my fundamentalist roots, as an adult I continue to experience this feeling of one denomination being pitted against another. I find myself yearning for a place of peace and grace, even when I disagree.


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